The Non-teacher: Corporeal Singularities and the Orgasmic, Anti-identitarian Embodiment in Education

By Chris W.H. Woo.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper probes and challenges education theory to envision and embody a “non-teacher” in education. The paper fuses the philosophies of anti-identitarian, embodiment and desire to invoke it through corporeal singularities–the somatic and orgasmic moments of becoming–in education where the teaching and learning bodies are not sutured in either discourse or the feminist criticism of a politically ineffectual body-subject. To say, “I am a teacher” already precludes a delimitation of embodied experiences with signifying practices that are attached to the coded and symbolic function of the teacher. The anti-identitarian self in education denies the translation of its existence within the spaces of signification yet its affectivities are undeniably perceptible even if it is opaque. Merleau-Ponty’s existential body and Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy of desire are carefully examined and merged in this paper to acknowledge the emancipatory, corporeal singularities in education. The non-teacher that defies the symbolic functioning of consciousness and Foucauldian discourse, disciplinary apparatuses, and taken-for-granted pedagogical ontologies instantiates an inarticulable agentic ecstasy and freedom of being in the classroom. The subjective “I” disappears or is, at least momentarily, suspended from articulation. Thus somatic desires are schizophrenically produced across a plane of intensities. Indeed, it is my aim to show how the loss of the “I” as identity can, literally, make us productively and delightfully insane. To make clear the abstraction of a philosophy of embodiment and desire, I will contextualise my examples through the phenomenology of cinema, notably through Dead Poets Society (1989).

Keywords: Anti-identitarian, Education, Embodiment, Corporeal Singularities, Philosophy of Desire, Merleau-ponty, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp.321-340. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 813.835KB).

Dr. Chris W.H. Woo

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Gadong, Brunei-muara, Brunei Darussalam

Dr. Chris W. H. Woo is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Social Science in the Universiti Brunei Darussalam. He has taught and lectured Communication Studies and Media for 7 years in Curtin and Murdoch University in Australia and then 2 years in the Republic Polytechnic in Singapore. He has been nominated for the Murdoch University’s Vice Chancellor’s Best Teaching Award in 2003. In Republic Polytechnic he was awarded the WOW! Award and the Best Mentor Award for the excellent guidance of students. Dr. Woo is trained in Problem-Based Learning (but critical of its pedagogical solipsism) and specialises in teaching visual communication and semiotics. His research interests include queer theory, embodiment philosophy and philosophy of desire.


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